Earnings Estimates Still Too Lofty
By JOHANNA BENNETT
WHILE WALL STREET’S OUTLOOK for corporate earnings has grown more bearish by the day, the estimates are still not grisly enough.
Analysts have sharply cut their third-quarter and full-year financial profit estimates for companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 since the summer, finally giving up on the notion that profits will climb much in 2008.
A poll by Thomson Reuters shows that the Street expects earnings to fall 2.3% in the quarter ending Tuesday from a year earlier. For the entire year, profits are expected to remain flat, a big change from the 6.7% gain analysts had forecast in July.
But some are skeptical about even those modest expectations and expect earnings to be down this year by as much as 8%. And there’s little confidence that the 22% gains predicted in 2009 will materialize given the uncertain economy, falling oil prices and the turmoil plaguing financial markets. […]